Know Your Audience

So, last week I was asked to speak at co-op to the families.  According to our directory, there are 48 families. . . .and I don’t even know half of them.

I think I have just now recovered from the whole ordeal.

I despise talking in public!  I mean, forget knocking knees; we are talking sick stomach, nerves that will set my entire body into violent shakes, etc.  Worse, when I actually stand up to speak I have been known to break into tears.

Public speaking = one of my worst nightmares.

But, I did it; and it’s done.  Sometimes that is an answered prayer in and of itself.

Now some people, who erroneously think they are funny, keep coming up to me and suggesting that I teach public speaking next year.

Umm, not a chance in Hades!

However, as I have mentioned, I have had the “good fortune” (rolling eyes here) of being required to take public speaking in colleges not only once, or twice, but actually THREE times.  (Two separate colleges that just refused to accept that class from the college prior.)

One thing that was drilled into my head by my first “speech” teacher was to “know your audience”.

And, then, she assigned me to teach about selling Tupperware, to a class of 15 – only two of which were female and married.

Fast forward to last Friday, and I was going to talk about flaws in cross-stitch, as an object lesson related to God’s love.  I spent a good deal of time taking into account that 80-90% of those listening could care less about my topic or even the entire devotion time.  Based on the feedback I’ve received, I at least did a great job in considering my audience.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about text books for highschool.  The specific author / publisher brought up probably, in my opinion, produces one of the most DULL and uninteresting books available on the market.

OH. MY.

I mean when you start to imagine the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher within the first paragraph, just to make it more interesting. . .You know you’re in trouble!

And I sat there and wondered. . .and I thought. . .and I considered many of the other publications out there on this topic (as well as others), and it suddenly occurred to me:

“Textbook publishers do NOT take into account their audience!”

NOT.  AT.  ALL.

In fact, if I were to look at most of these books closely, I bet I would find almost all of them are written to some “national standard” list.  Not actually written to inspire a student to learn.

Umm, except, I know it’s a newsflash and all, but a list of standards is NOT actually the *who* you should be writing to!  In fact, if that is truly what publishers are doing, then schools, you would be much better off just printing the standards from the various national standards sites, chucking them at your students and telling them there will be a test in 6 weeks.  Honestly, with books this dry, you’ll be giving the students just about as much. . .

What happened to generating interest?  Induce a DESIRE to learn.  Yes, some subjects will be drab to some people but, GEEZ, give the students a chance to be interested first!

I’m looking at curricula for next year’s class, and each book I’ve looked at thus far just inspires me to think that this particular work will make an excellent doorstop.

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In somewhat related news you may have noticed a lack of postings of late (i.e. the last year or so).  Well, this has arisen due to the fact that for the first time more of my blog audience actually knows my family.  I have thus been forbidden to speak of them, unless they give me specific permission.

They are very stingy on their permissions.

So, I suppose this blog needs to evolve. . .

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3 comments on “Know Your Audience

  1. Beth says:

    When my husband mentions our kids in his sermon illustrations, he has to give them $5. Maybe you could make that deal with your kids. You’d be poorer, but perhaps your kids would be more willing to allow you to write about them. However, the price might have to increase for the older son, and for the husband. . . he might need other incentives. . .

  2. Anonymous says:

    I know someone who LOVES to be mentioned in your blog and you don’t even have to pay her. ;)

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